Through a Window This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     The room is lit only by the dim glow of my alarm clock, shining 4:27, but my eyes adjusted to the darkness hours ago. I lie here, so small and silent and unmoving, staring at the ceiling as if trying to somehow see through it. In these moments, it’s hard to say what is real. I whisper, if only to hear my own voice and know that I speak, “Please be real, God. Please be real, world. Please be real, me.

I am terrified by the thought of being nothing more than a collection of atoms and neurological signals who has never known a real person because there are no real people, and there is no life. But that can’t be, because why would a collection of atoms be afraid of that, unless there was more to it? Why would a collection of atoms reach out to others and forge deep bonds of trust? There is more to love than convenience or lust or obligation or anything that can be explained by genetics. We are compelled.

I am compelled, as I lie here, to close my eyes and pray, because part of me existed before this flattened feather pillow, before those piles of dirty laundry, before that pink wallpaper I have always loathed, before the earth was formed. I was somewhere else, and every place I go reminds me. Every song I hear, every smell, every satisfied sigh as the sun goes down, every moment of shared laughter, every story that wraps its fingers around me: these are glimpses through a window to somewhere else.

The sky is beginning to pale now, as I look outside of this house where seven once lived and now only three do; this room where my father came to rub my back and say good night before fading, hiding behind that quiet, calculated stranger with graying hair who comes each week to take my little brother to a movie or baseball game.

I remember once lying on the couch, the side of my face against his chest that rose and fell gently. We looked out the window at the stars which, he told me, were so far away they could have blown up years ago and we would not know. So far away, we could look straight through time and into the past.

The stars go on forever in every direction, making my head spin as I attempt to envision it. But somehow, I know it is not entirely true that space continues endlessly in every direction. It only continues in directions we know. We are like flat little video game caricatures on a TV screen, moving up, down, left, right, diagonal, but never forward, never outward, off the screen. But I think we will someday. Someday, I think we will finally understand.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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